Fresh off substantial fuel price hikes in March, South Africans should brace themselves for further increases in April. This is according to the unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF).

The projected basic fuel price increase is being billed as 98 cents for petrol, 70 cents for diesel and 63 cents for illuminating paraffin. But, increases to the fuel levies will push the prices at the pumps even higher when they come into effect in April. With the addition of levy increases, our outlook for April sees petrol increasing by R1,18/ℓ and diesel by 90c/ℓ. There are no added levies on illuminating paraffin.

Movements in the exchange rate have contributed 23c to 26c to this increase, with the balance coming from changes in international product prices. The CEF’s analysis shows that international oil prices contributed 73c/ℓ to the rise in the case of petrol.

It is difficult to reconcile that figure with the general stability shown by the daily prices since the start of March. We hope that data will provide more clarity as the month unfolds. However, there is another fly in the ointment, which is that increased fuel taxes become applicable in April.

This will add 20c/ℓ to the April increase; 15c for the fuel levy and 5c for the Road Accident Fund levy. This will push the proportion of taxes and levies on the fuel price to around 38% of the cost per litre in the case of 93 unleaded petrol.

When fuel taxes were proposed as a mechanism to fund road building and maintenance, the government resisted, claiming they were anti-poor. But the fuel levy has nonetheless risen by nearly 22% during the past three years. Given what is emerging at the Zondo Commission of Enquiry, motorists would be entirely justified to ask what this money is being spent on. – AA